While the lots of First Baptist
and Central Methodist are filled
tight like parishioners in the pews
knees touching knees
beneath khaki and hose
the atheists are on the move
weaving through town
as the minister stands to preach.
Faces unshaven, elastic
waisted pants slipped on
between bedroom and front door
tennis shoes lightly laced
the atheists shop. They pray
to finish before the worshippers
pile into the grocery store
the aisles overflowing with combed hair
eye shadow just so, and kids in collared shirts
as the faithful greet one another, hands
pressed firm, inquiring after grandma
or the girls, amidst the unwashed
who hunt for a bargain
and sample cheese, the lactose covered cracker
crunching and melting in their mouth
a mix of pepper jack and whole grains.
Carts heaped like collection plates
the atheists whisk through the checkout
barcodes scan, small talk is made, numbers
transfer from card to computer.
At home, the family gathers. Bags
are brought in, unloaded.
The ritual completes and the meaning
is found in another day, another week
spent together, preparing food
joining around the table as dinner is served
and silence gives way to voices, laughter
the sounds of people sharing a meal.
Perhaps, I’d feel differently if I’d read the book instead of listened to the audiobook, but Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin is a novel that’s overly dense, without being especially weighty. For the first half / twelve hours of the novel, I found it enjoyable. Helprin writes with a style that takes pleasure in metaphor and seeks them out in every description. To use a metaphor though, Helprin’s writing is a bit like a Victorian house, it’s ornate to the point of distraction. What started out as fun became tiresome. Not every description needs to be exaggerated. What does that level of description do? Is Helprin creating a more magical landscape or does he not know when to stop? Whichever the case may be, it created a narrative that lumbers forward. Action and pace slow, caught up in the Candyland-like quagmire of imagery, somewhere between Molasses Swamp and Lake of the Coheeries.
Continue reading “Review: Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin” »
Sorry, you’ve been upworthied! But, check out this quote regarding education and books.
Learning to read is different, moreover, from learning by reading. Reliance on apprenticeship training, oral communication, and special mnemonic devices had gone together with mastering letters in the age of scribes. After the advent of printing, however, the transmission of written information became much more efficient. It was not only the craftsman outside universities who profited from the new opportunities to teach himself. Of equal importance was the chance extended to bright undergraduates to reach beyond their teachers’ grasp. Gifted students no longer needed to sit at the feet of a given master in order to learn a language or academic skill. Instead, they could swiftly achieve mastery on their own, even by sneaking books past their tutors – as did the young would-be astronomer, Tycho Brahe. (Eisenstein 38)
Have books replaced teachers since the creation of the printing press? Do you still think videos and MOOCs will replace teachers?
Yesterday, I completed my writing space at home. The final stage involved taking the top off of my old, secondhand desk I bought at an estate sale in St. Louis and screwing on some steel legs. It turned a desk with a narrow space for a chair into a more open workspace. Best of all, it was easy to do. If you’re interested in doing something similar, you can order legs from Hairpin Legs or Modern Legs.
1poetry voice noun \ˈpō-ə-trē, -i-trē also ˈpȯ(-)i-trē ˈvȯis\
a : a warbling of the vocal cords that allows the speaker to move from breathless whispers to punctuated singsong according to an unknown rhythm
b : a treatable disease that predominantly affects young poets
Examples of POETRY VOICE
- “Everywhere and nowhere,” she said in her poetry voice, standing on stage with her eyes closed.
- I drank so much PBR, I lost my poetry voice!
Origin of POETRY VOICE
Middle English, from Old French vois, from Latin voc-, vox;akin to Old High German giwahanen to mention, Greek eposword, speech, Sanskrit vāk voice
First Known Use: 14th century
Related to POETRY VOICE
The story goes that Thamus said many things to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts, which it would take too long to repeat; but when they came to the letters, “This invention, O king,” said Theuth, “will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories; for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered.” But Thamus replied, “Most ingenious Theuth, one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another; and now you, who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise. ~ Socrates
Control over change would seem to consist in moving not with it but ahead of it. Anticipation gives the power to deflect and control force. ~ Marshall McLuhan
First week of class is finished. ∞
Seek the solace
of a moment free
from text messages, status
updates from a person
who used to be your friend
but now is reduced
to an image, a sentence
that slips below the fold.
Find the focus
to be alone
to notice the sun
through the leaves, the smile
on a loved one’s face
the thoughts that wait
at the bottom of the cup.
Allow the world
to publish, remix, re-mash
as you turn off your devices
and settle into your seat-back
wonder as the seconds stand still.